Monday, 21 April 2014

The Grand Budapest Hotel


I usually approach a Wes Anderson film with caution. The trailers for his films invariably make them appear interesting and hilarious but too often I have found the trailers contained all the best bits and the films themselves to be less interesting than I had expected.

The trailers for 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' have been as tempting as any for his earlier films so my expectations were high. The film centres on M Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes) the super efficient bisexual concierge of a grand pre-war European hotel who beds his wealthy elderly female guests and enjoys the fruits of their gratitude thereafter.

The film is lush, colourful and stylish and shamelessly indulges in cheesy effects. It is also, in Anderson's usual style, quite quirky.

Once again, many of the best moments are revealed in the trailer but this time there is still sufficient left over for the film to maintain interest.
★★★★

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Divergent


'Divergent' is set in a war ravaged Chicago of the future where the entire population is broken into five groupings which determine their behaviour and character. Children are born into the grouping of their parents and on their eighteenth birthday they get a once only, non revocable, choice to remain or change to another group.

The film opens with the heroine having to make her choice and then spends most of its duration depicting the training she receives to remain in the group she chooses. There are some interesting issues here relating to people's desire to belong and fit in but the film focusses on the wham bam action of the situation rather than any moral issues.

The film is derived from books which I understand are very popular amongst young women in particular and it is worthy that the story is built around a heroine rather than yet another beefy, boofy bloke. At the session I attended the audience was about 95% mid-teenage yet it is an "M" rated movie and most of the action revolves around murder, mayhem and violence.

Technically well done but this won't appeal to a broad audience and it is best viewed with your sense of logic suspended.
★★★

Friday, 18 April 2014

After the 'ball is over......

Football, that is. The crowds filling Platform 1 to the city at Olympic Park station after the Good Friday National Rugby League fixture this afternoon between South Sydney (the Rabbitohs) and Canterbury (the Bulldogs).

One train was about to arrive. I made it onto the following train.


Thursday, 17 April 2014

The new boss

After yesterday's stunning events we have just had elected a new leader of the NSW Liberal Party and hence the next Premier of NSW, Mike Baird.

Mike Baird

Mr Baird is certainly a better looking Premier (in my opinion) than his predecessor but I fear that in other respects he may be no improvement in relation to the gay community. Whereas Barry O'Farrell stated his support for gay marriage I understand Mr Baird has previously referred to 'those who choose the live homosexual lifestyle' when referring to gay issues.

Mr Baird has been elected leader of his party unopposed.

His deputy will be Ms Gladys Berejiklian, arguably the most active Minister for Transport the state has ever had. She was also elected unopposed.

Gladys Berejiklian

With regard to Barry O'Farrell, he will not be entitled to the retirement perks that his predecessor Premiers enjoy because he has not served as Premier for a minimum of five years. The irony is that it was Mr O'Farrell who in 2012, as part of 'belt tightening' who changed the rules to enforce this minimum qualifying period for future Premiers.

Meanwhile in the main game......

(Sydney Morning Herald)

His performance as Premier of New South Wales is a matter of personal opinion but whether you feel he is one of the best or one of the worst Premiers of New South Wales no-one I know has ever suggested he has acted corruptly or is a shady character.

I feel for Barry O'Farrell. Giving misleading or false evidence to the Independent Commission Against Corruption is a criminal offence and so he has resigned after failing to remember - assuming that he isn't lying that it was a memory failure - that he received the gift of a $3,000 bottle of wine. Why he didn't at least register the gift at the time remains a mystery.

The Opposition Leader, John Robertson, is still in his position even though he has previously admitted failing to report the offer a $3,000,000 bribe. But that wasn't a matter investigated by the ICAC.

Meanwhile the main players in the current and previous investigation by the ICAC into alleged corruption involving millions of dollars continue to go about their daily business smiling sickeningly in the public's face and wearing their allegedly corrupt behaviour almost as a badge of honour.

Justice, like politics, sometimes seems very dirty to me.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Laptop crackpot

(from Dave Does The Blog)

How I feel this evening.

I spent the best part of four hours this afternoon assisting a friend to obtain satisfaction from the Dell support service. To put it bluntly her Dell laptop was 'cactus'. My friend could neither shut the laptop down nor restart it effectively nor could she access the internet or email even though the modem and the wireless connection were working.

No doubt my friend must take some of the blame as she unknowingly clogged the laptop with all manner of useless and possibly dangerous files but I have to say I wouldn't take possession of a Dell product even if it was offered to me for free on the evidence of her experiences. It didn't help that my friend took advice dispensed on ABC local radio last week to safeguard the security of her data - advice that she didn't really understand - and pressed four buttons which supposedly would permanently delete some unwanted documents but which instead seems to freeze everything.

To top off my frustrations I came home to find that Tradies, about to perform major maintenance on my apartment building, have dumped their heavy equipment in front of my garage without giving me any notice and completely blocked my access to it.

On the bright side though, my friend's laptop is now working again (but I no longer care).